Jonny's summing up of 2016 - Northern Advocate, Saturday 24th December. I found solace in the vege garden and haven’t stopped my obsessing over growing the prefect tomato.

Another one bites the dust!  2016, not quite divisible by three but divisive by Brexit, Russia and Trump.

It seemed hotter this year and right now it’s definitely getting hotter.  Well, let’s see what happened or mattered in the world of Jonny.  

January saw the end of an era with the death of David Bowie reminding me that hopefully “nothing is going to stop us in these golden years”. The heat of January tempted me to liberate my normally encased feet by walking around barefoot (and pregnant looking), fancy free only to face the fact that I really find it very difficult to walk with no shoes on. It’s as though my feet attract energy and stimulus from the ground, setting off my Cerebral Palsy with random jolts and spasms of involuntary movements, like a pinball machine, on a State Highway 1 detour over unsealed roads.

Why did I think January was hot when we all know the heat and humidity of Tai Tokerau is simply phenomenal?  I think it was the heat that made people protest about the Transpacific Partnership deal and the antiquated New Zealand Immigration Laws that banned disabled people from immigrating to NZ to become permanent residents.

Well, Trump trumped the TTP deal and our NZ government continues to welcome all immigrants apart from those that happen to have a disability.

March is always a good time of the year when we enjoy the last warmth of the summer, and Tiaho always celebrates it with the Surfability day in Ruakaka.

It’s always good to be an Aries in April as we tend to be narcissists at the best of times. April saw a spike in vicious dog attacks. I still can’t believe that pitbulls can climb trees and I am still horrified by the thought.

In May I was head-long into consultation efforts to engage a disabled community on giving their feedback into the new NZ Disability Strategy. It’s a done deal now and we will see if the government does our work justice by truly implementing it this time around.

June was fabulous for me and my wife, eating and drinking our way around Europe. Mark my words though, it has taken its toll, I still look like I have swallowed a moon-hopper.

July was back to reality with a full blown man-flu, and me trying to tell my colleagues “I am not infectious, my mucus is clear” Yuk they replied.

In August, Havelock North was brought to a standstill by an outbreak of Campylobacter in their water supply. By all accounts the local council was not that inclusive of the wider public when they took a lengthy amount of time before making a public announcement to boil all water.

In September our NZ Paralympians brought home the bacon. The coverage of the Paralympic games in mainstream media was unprecedented with Northland Paralympians, Cameron Leslie, Emma Foy and Laura Thompson winning medals, not to mention Chris Sharp who came fourth overall in his regatta. 

In October I stuck out my scaly neck and stood in the local body elections for the Northland District Health Board. Nice try but no cigar, thanks Northland.  No hard feelings (not).

In November I found solace in the vegie garden and haven’t stopped my obsessing over growing the perfect tomato.  I will let you all know if I have succeeded in the New Year.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us, I won’t name names because I am bound to muck it up. It’s been a great year, not without its challenges, ups and downs and lots of wins. I am so grateful to be living in the best part of the country in the best country in the world, roll on Tai Tokerau summer.  Wishing you all an inclusive new year.

Downloadable pdf below:

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Published 09/01/2017

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